Justice demand for proxy bomb victim on 27th anniversary

Patsy Gillespie with his wife Kathleen
Patsy Gillespie with his wife Kathleen

A fresh call has been made for the gang behind one of the most notorious bombings of the Troubles to face justice, on the 27th anniversary of the crime.

On October 24, 1990, Patsy Gillespie was forced to drive a booby-trapped bomb to an Army checkpoint at Coshquin, between the Donegal border and Londonderry city, which then detonated.

It had been rigged in such a way that it would explode if he tried to escape the vehicle, and the family of Mr Gillespie – who was a 42-year-old Catholic father, employed as a civilian cook by the security forces – had been held hostage by the IRA to make sure he completed his journey to the checkpoint.

The explosion also killed English soldiers Stephen Burrows, Stephen Roy Beacham, Vincent J Scott, David Andrew Sweeney and Paul Desmond Worral.

The IRA carried out two other similar ‘proxy bomb’ attacks the same day.

In a statement, SDLP MLA Dolores Kelly, MLA for Upper Bann, said the Coshquin bombing was “one of the most heinous crimes committed in the 40 years of conflict here”, dubbing it an “inhuman act” and called for “justice for Patsy Gillespie”.

She added: “Those responsible for the atrocity have never been brought to justice and Patsy’s family have never been told the truth, compounding their grief.

“If those with influence among the individuals responsible are in any way serious about their claims to support reconciliation, they must use that influence to deliver truth to the Gillespie family.

“I can’t imagine the horror Patsy was subjected to. But it’s clear that his unconditional love for his family stayed with him until his very last moments. The least they deserve is to know the truth about what happened to a much loved husband and father.”